What is driving the growth of Manufacturing Operations Management solutions in Life Sciences?

Industry Survey Results from Medtec Ireland

Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM) is defined as “a methodology for viewing an end-to-end manufacturing process with a view to optimizing efficiency” (Wikipedia 2015). Efficiency in manufacturing has traditionally has been the main focus in lower value / higher volume environments like Food and Beverage, where margins are low and maximising output can be the difference between make or break.

Many manufacturers adopt efficiency techniques such as Kaizen, Six Sigma and Lean Manufacturing, but the real value is achieved when inefficiencies or errors can be identified in real-time in parallel with production. If an error is identified only after the production run is complete, it cannot be rectified easily – if at all – resulting in one or more instances of process waste. Identifying the issue during production provides the opportunity to address and reverse the problem sooner, improving production efficiency.

Life Science companies have historically been focused primarily on meeting quality, compliance and order fulfillment requirements. Whilst these issues remain high on the agenda, the need for increased efficiency in Life Science manufacturing is quickly gathering pace. The current global marketplace is highly competitive; with the rise of generics and the patent cliff well in motion, Life Science manufacturers are adopting technology-based manufacturing efficiency programs such as MES, to ensure they stay in the race.

Whilst at Medtec Ireland – the Medical Device Manufacturers Exhibition last month, we surveyed a selection of customers in the Medical Devices sector to try to determine what their biggest current challenges are in Manufacturing Operations Management (MOM).’

Survey Results:

Coming out on top of the survey, over 30% identified
‘Quality issues arising post production’ as their most
pressing challenge.

This was closely followed by:

  • Lack of real-time information and visibility (16%)
  • Delays in handling atypical events and errors (16%)
  • Inefficiencies in production (16%)

All of which lead to the same key pain: Poor visibility during production means errors are identified only after production is complete.

This stands true for the Life Sciences companies we are currently working with to implement MES solutions.  Where they are achieving the highest level of success is in recognising and rectifying quality issues during production. This real-time visibility of production and quality working in parallel, gives companies a real competitive edge, reducing waste, preventing the threat of recalls, whilst saving time and money.

Technology is giving companies the real-time visibility to detect and deal with exceptions earlier than they could using traditional paper-based systems. This is revolutionising the Life Science marketplace, facilitating ‘right first time’ manufacturing, which in the long term facilitates faster product release and ensures quality standards and compliance requirements are met.